• Feb 23rd 2011 at 1:32PM
  • 55
Florida motorists are officially fed up with the actions of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and Faneuil Inc. The latter is a private firm hired by the FDOT to manage its tollbooth operations. A class-action lawsuit filed against both parties alleges that toll booth operators have been holding cash-paying motorists hostage.

Paying with cash causes an increase in operating costs for Faneuil because workers are needed to handle the money and provide change. In an apparent attempt to dissuade drivers from paying with cash, tollbooth operators are required to fill out Bill Detection Report. The driver's license plate number, vehicle make and model and driver's license information are all written down. The barrier isn't lifted until this information is provided, and many motorists feel this policy is out of control. For its part, Faneeil would prefer that drivers switch to the automated SunPass system, which would help reduce operating costs.

The lawsuit alleges that civil rights are being violated and claims this is a form of false imprisonment. Neither the FDOT or Faneuil have commented on the lawsuit.

[Source: TheNewspaper.com | Image: Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Tonya Heath Rodgers
      • 14 Days Ago

      Today I received a bill in the mail stating I owed money for failing to pay at a toll both in Orlando on 02/05/15 at 1:56 pm. This was an exact change booth. When I put my money in it would not light up green for me t go so I added another 2 dollars in change and it still would not let me go though. There was no attendant for me to talk to and no way of going around. I was blocking traffic. I went through praying it was accepting my change and noted it. I was wrong. I had to pay a fine today. I do not know who to talk to about this. I have posted it on face book and to the better business bureau to find that there are a lot of people going through the same thing. I want to know who I can talk to so if anyone can help I would appreciate it as well as all of the other people I have talked to today. NOT one person knew where to go to get help. majorpuddin07@gmail.com. please email me if you know who I can contact to resolve this issue.

      • 4 Years Ago
      i've spent time on the polk parkway and the leroy selmon, the toll booths had no swing arms, i wonder if you could just pay in exact change and drive off. if they want your plate they can write it down or snap a pic.
      maybe i don't have my license with me today, unless you are a police officer, you can't have it.
      the toll tag system is nice, but its not like they are going to suddenly drop the tolls to $0 if everyone switched over.
      lets also mention the exit booths/ramps that are not staffed 24/7, why is it only appropriate to pay by cash during m-f banker hours? i'm sorry i guess that exit should be CLOSED then instead...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Only in Florida. It's just different there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I live in Miami and have traveled though all Florida and understand the system. On a recent trip to Orlando I stayed near the airport which is about 10 miles east of the parks area moving around in a regular day would cost from $5 to $10 in one day. The Beach Line toll road has a Sun Pass toll on the way which is fine (I have Sun Pass) but less than a mile away on the same road there is another toll, this time with E-Z Pass; why in the world do I have to pay twice or carry two different company's transponders for the same drive? I-4 is amazing and not a toll road by the way.

      About the Turnpike and the Don Shula expressway in Miami they are pretty good most of the time, I don't mind paying a toll if the road is well kept but my problem is with the Sun Pass. Although I own one and it is a convenience I think older people such as my parents would prefer paying cash, Sun Pass is OK but they should leave open one or two cash lanes for people who do not have a Sun Pass such as older people and people driving down from other states. Oh, and the cashiers lost their jobs.

      Miami is full of highway construction causing accidents every day, some even fatal. I don't know who's idea it was to suddenly destroy all roads and highways in Miami and slowwwly work on them, it's like driving though Afghanistan or something.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Faneuil Inc is a Canadian outfit hired by the state of Fl to run our roads, they also control the Suncoast parkway and keep a very limited amout of people working to make change to force drivers to use Sunpass , Why did our tax dollars put in so many man operated booths if they had no intentions of manning them. Faneuil Inc has had more then it's share of complaints from workers and yet the State forces this company down our throats. I'm sure if some form of investigation was performed they would find a connection between it and the company Barton that they outbid.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Does anyone know who is handling this? How does one go about getting in on this? I have SO MANY issues with Sunpass and they have basically ruined my life.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Florida sucks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      There is a stretch of the turnpike in FL that is called the Turnpike Extension which has gone to a toll-by-plate system. No more toll booths. They literally have torn down most of the tollbooths. You either have an electronic transponder from the Sunpass system or you get a bill in the mail. The rates for the toll-by-plate system are more expensive than those for Sunpass and they also bill you a $2.50 monthly processing fee in addition to the cost of the toll. Not sure how this will work for rental car companies.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds like a perfect example of the greed/corruption inherent with privatizing these types of "services"... average citizens end up getting screwed.

      Similar deal with those (now gone, I believe) speed cameras in Arizona and other places... some private company bamboozled these states to buy into their system promising them "free money" but the end result is complete BS for drivers.

        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Rocketboy

        There is ZERO accountability to greed when it comes to corporations... if anything, its considered a POSITIVE. And don't forget that whatever millions they make in profits are profits that this service is costing you ABOVE and beyond the expense to run it. A well run government agency could/should cost only as much as it takes to actually run the program without the "profit" motive to constantly be jacking up prices or diminishing service.

        So you can take your "gob'ment = debil" ideals some place else because this story is a shining example of what happens when services get privatized. And again, I am not saying that government services are perfect - far from it - but the greed of corporate America knows no bounds.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, because the gov't is n-e-v-e-r corrupt...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Did I defend their actions? Just making the point that it's a corrupt government that gets into corrupt deals.

        The only difference is that the private company could lose it's contract. A gov't ran by political parties and unions? Not so much.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Rocketboy

        So you are defending the actions of Faneuil Inc?

        But beyond that, when did I say gob'ment is never corrupt??

        The difference is that a corporation, almost by definition, is set up to squeeze as much as they possibly can out of consumers... and then squeeze them some more. They can - and clearly do - set it up to be as absolutely frustrating of an experience as possible so they can maximize their profit at all costs. If they could, and just might, take as much time as possible checking out each and every car, just to push people into these automated tolls which are clearly much less expensive for them to manage. 1/2 hr wait? 2 hours wait? Too bad. They are there to make money at all costs, not to serve you.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Jay-J

        Your thinking is sooo flayed its not even funny... its actually dangerous.

        Both Wired magazine, BusinessWeek, FrontLine and others have actually done reporting on this (instead of regurgitating talking points) and invariably selling roads (because in effect that is what is happening) is detrimental to drivers and communities alike.

        The cost to design and build a road should be about the same no matter what entity is doing it. Asphalt, concrete, rebar and all the other things involved in the process should be the same whether Corp XYZ or The State is flipping the bill. However a corporation isn't going to do it for free... their motive is profits above all else. So they will skimp on materials, design, safety or ultimately maintenance to cover those profits.

        And there is also the issue that if this is a toll road (which if its a for-profit road, it will be), all the other public roads around it have been proven to have increased traffic because people will try to avoid the tolls like the plague... that increases maintenance required on those public roads as well as increases traffic jams.... all so some company can rake in some profits on everyone's expense.

        There is also the political side of it... once Corp XYZ owns this road, they will throw their political might again the building of new roads in other areas because they want to drum up business for their tolls. Its a lose-lose situation for everyone but Corp XYZ.

        This is what it all comes down to:

        Road A costs $Xmillion to build and maintain.

        Why in god name would I want to add 10, 20 or even 30% on top of that amount to give Corp XYZ a profit? Why not simply have the state own the road, and not constantly have to worry about a corporation's profit motive which ultimately costs me MORE money?
      • 4 Years Ago
      The reason they ask for driver info is that the customers are more than likely paying the toll with a large demonination bill, I am quite sure they do not ask this informaion from everyone. Miami and South Florida is a haven for counterfiet money and a toll booth is an excellent way to pass it without detection, unless of course you are asked to stop and give id.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So, if I pay my toll in pennies, I should be OK?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Tolls are a really inefficient means of raising tax revenue.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It doesn't matter what they are using the revenue for -- tolls are simply an inefficient way to collect taxes. Here in MA, about 30 cents of every dollar of toll revenue is spent to collect and count the tolls. So out of $250M in taxes paid by the tollpayers, only about $175M makes it into the state's coffers. About $75M is spent on tollpayer salaries and the electronic toll collection system.

        Here in MA we could raise the gas tax marginally to collect an extra $250M in gas taxes, eliminate the tolls, and the state would have an extra $75M to spend. Or, raise the gas tax less to collect $175M extra and save the taxpayers $75M. Since we already have a gas tax, there would be no marginal cost to slightly increase it.

        Collecting tolls requires processing many small transactions from a very large number of tollpayers. Collecting gas taxes requires processing monthly transactions from a small number of gas stations, which is far less expensive than collecting tolls.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bmaz: you should go use a dictionary and look up the definition for the word "efficient."

        Some people argue that toll roads are good policy, but they are not efficient. Far too much of the taxes raised by tolls are wasted in collecting and counting the tolls.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Tolls are very efficient, you pay for use, I don't want to pay for roads I don't use.
        It's the execution that's inefficient. There are Toll Roads that use cameras only.
        No need to slow down or queue up to pay.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You mean paying for new and existing road maintenance?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Switching fully over to a "Fast-Pass" or "EZ-Tag" system makes the most sense. Houston, TX has been integrating this method for a few years now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Florida already has an electronic pass system. The issue is how Florida handles folks who don't have toll transponders and pay in cash.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed, transponder systems is the fastest, easiest.

        However, visitors can't be expected to buy a transponder, and I don't think they should be expected to fill out a form with that kind of detailed information just to use an interstate.
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